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The hazards of AllTrails

Chill

For Real
There seems to be a very current groundswell of problems emanating from relying on online mapping to plan and execute hike routes. It seems like we’re seeing a lot of rescues where SAR is directly pointing at smart phone apps for causing dangerous situations by providing unreliable and incorrect information.

This is a different problem than looking up a trail and overestimating your abilities.

There were a couple of situations like that this week. This one could have been a catastrophe if weather had come in, and it’s happened before. SAR is explicitly pointing at AllTrails.

 

One Fat Marmot

Diggin' It
I don't know if this was AllTrails, but a trail app did result in a catastrophe in the Alps. Luckily, no fatalities. 99 children and 8 teachers had to be rescued by helicopter. They were trying to go over a high Austrian mountain pass on an impassable trail. They basically got cliffed out in pouring, cold, rain.

 

One Fat Marmot

Diggin' It
Key quote from that article:

In recent years, Austrian authorities have intensified their attempts to charge tourists for complex rescue operations.

There have been numerous cases of careless holidaymakers airlifted to safety after opting for challenging hiking paths wearing just flip flops or sneakers.

Local rescue institutions warn of the dangers of changes to weather conditions such as sudden downpours, thunderstorms, and intense snowfall throughout the year.

Andreas Haid, the mayor of the local town of Mitterberg, said it was getting harder and harder to verify the quality of hiking reports on the internet.

Haid said: “There are more and more individuals acting totally irresponsible by posting such texts online.”

Vorarlberg Police pointed out that the hiking track chosen by the German group was anything but easy.

The police announced: “The narrow Heuberggrat path features climbing passages. Individuals with a lack of experience should not take it."
 

Naughty Pine

Hangin' Out
@One Fat Marmot , yes! People go on AllTrails and get competitive on how fast they could do a hike. Many of the times are unrealistic: they are self-reported bragging rights. I see some crazy times on there. And the AllTrails format of unedited self-reporting promotes this kind of competitiveness.

I hate that enjoying the outdoors has become notching up times.
 
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One Fat Marmot

Diggin' It
@One Fat Marmot , yes! People go on AllTrails and get competitive on how fast they could do a hike. Many of the times are unrealistic: they are self-reported bragging rights. I see some crazy times on there. And the AllTrails format of unedited self-reporting promotes this kind of competitiveness.

I hate that enjoying the outdoors has become notching up times.
In my experience, about half of AllTrails hikes I've tried to go on have been bunk. Either they're bad info, the trail is non-existent, you can't find a spot for the car, the trailhead is invisible... Time prognosis is ALWAYS an underestimate. People only publish their times if they look good.
As for publishing hikes that go through private property......uh, no.
 

Rainforest

Laidback
Crowd-sourced catastrophe IMO .

The most “advanced skill” in backcountry activity is the willingness to turn around and go back. IMO. AllTrails has NONE of this.
 

Nitty Gritty

Hangin' Out
The most “advanced skill” in backcountry activity is the willingness to turn around and go back.
This is very difficult to do, especially if you've almost reached your goal. You have to recognize you have enough energy and supplies to go back, too, and not wait until it's too late.

Nothing like hitting a snowfield in Mile 8 of a 9-mile loop hike, and, not being able to find where the trail picks up on the other side of the snowfield, have to hike back all 8 miles in low light, getting darker all the time. But it's experience that persuades you to turn around. Experience that made you bring a headlamp. Very easy to get hopelessly lost in a snowfield and end up with a dangerously cold overnight.
 
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